Jinny is the oldest of nine orphans living on an idyllic island. New children are delivered to the island by a mysterious boat, and whenever one arrives, the eldest on the island takes the arrival’s place aboard the vessel to leave the only home he or she has ever known, with no knowledge of what the future holds. It’s Jinny’s responsibility, as the elder, to care for the newly arrived Ess, despite the fact that Jinny is heartbroken over losing the previous elder, Deen, her best friend. As Jinny teaches Ess to contribute and uphold the cryptic rules that promise chaos if broken, she begins to question the unexplained dictates, opting to take charge of her actions and destiny. Through the precocious Jinny, Snyder (Seven Stories Up) delivers a contemplative commentary on the transition from childhood to adolescence, and from ignorance to awareness. Although the children’s ages are unspecified, the eldest islander is on the cusp of adolescence, beginning to yearn for more than the small island can provide, even while dreading to leave the comfort and stability it provides. The dissonance Jinny feels is universal, and Snyder’s skillful storytelling and lyrical writing heighten its impact. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/20/2017 Release date: 05/30/2017 Genre: Children's
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